Gain the interest of the children by telling them at the opening of your talk that you are going to give them a spelling lesson, and teach them how to spell the word vacation. It is spelled in the first place with a V, which stands for vigilance. The vacation will be what God wants it to be, if, in the first place, we watch vigilantly for opportunities of doing good.
Vacation is spelled in the next place with an A, which stands for activity. Whatever we mean to do for Christ this vacation we must begin upon at once, not putting it off till the last of August or the first of September.
Next, C—conscience. We do not know what kind of vacation God wants us to have. If we ask him what he would have us do during these summer months, he will tell us through our conscience, and we can be sure that his plan for our vacation will be the happiest.
Another A, which stands for attractiveness. Consecrating a thing to God makes it all the more merry, cheery, and sunshiny. Our vacation will not be at all consecrated to God unless it be filled with laughter and bright with smiles.
T—thoughtfulness. Do not let your vacation work for Christ be haphazard, taken in a careless way. Things that are worth doing are worth planning to do; and if we are going to make others happier and better this vacation, we cannot do it without a good deal of thought.
The I stands for interest in others’ happiness. Most vacations are spoiled because we are thinking almost entirely about ourselves, and so, if things do not go just to suit ourselves, our vacation is entirely ruined. We shall not mind it so much if our interest is chiefly for the pleasure of others.
One very important thing for the right kind of vacation for all children will be obedience, and that is what the O stands for,—obedience to parents, and elders, and all who know more than we, and are even more anxious than we are that we should have a good time and enjoy ourselves.
The last letter of the word is N, and that stands for the little word, next. The whole word vacation, you see, implies that we are to do something for Christ, but that something need not be anything very great. For most of us it will certainly consist of a succession of little things,—something tomorrow, and something more the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. There is a famous inscription on an old English gravestone, “Doe the nexte thynge.” Take that for your vacation motto. Whatever your mind and your conscience tell you that God wants you to do, begin on that, and after you have done it take the next thing, and the next, and you will be astonished to see what a beautiful and happy vacation you will get.